Oregon lawmakers hire firm to handle sexual harassment complaint

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon lawmakers have voted to hire a Portland law firm to handle the Legislature’s response to a complaint claiming top Democrats covered up sexual harassment at the Capitol.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports lawmakers voted Monday to hire Barran Liebman LLP.

Legislative Counsel Dexter Johnson says the firm is not to charge over $100,000 for the work.

The complaint filed earlier this month by Democrat and Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian alleges that House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney failed to act quickly or effectively enough to stop then-Sen. Jeff Kruse from harassing female senators and student interns.

Kotek and Courtney previously said they reacted appropriately upon learning of allegations against the Roseburg Republican.

The Legislature first asked the state Department of Justice to represent it, but the agency declined because it usually represents lawmakers and the Bureau of Labor and Industries overseen by Avakian.